Acing the Interview

As rapidly as technologies change, so does the employment landscape for digital professionals. Hiring managers are increasingly challenged to find not just the right talent to fit organizational needs, but also to hire people who can join their existing teams as rapidly and seamlessly as possible. At the same time, job seekers want to present their best work and highlight the skills and characteristics that will make them the perfect candidate for the job. Whether you are an emerging professional, switching up your career after many years in the field, or anywhere in between, we want to help you ace the interview and get the job of your dreams. Through short presentations, mock interviews (demonstrations), and ongoing interactive discussion, attendees will witness the good, the bad, and the ugly of the interviewing process and learn how to handle its twists and turns. Topics will include: managing your resume, interview questions and how best to answer them, communication strategies throughout the hiring process, negotiating salary, and a few potential “gotchas.” Attendees will leave better prepared to navigate the complexities of the interview process.


Unknown Speaker 00:00
Thank you for coming to acing the interview. We're going to talk today about some tips and practices for representing yourself if you're an interviewee or candidate for a position, or if you're a hiring manager and you want to become better at interviewing potential candidates, or anywhere in between. So just to introduce everyone on the panel first, I'm Victoria Portway. I'm from the National Air and Space Museum. And in terms of hiring experience, I've interviewed and hired lots and lots and lots of people. I've not interviewed myself very much I've been in the same job for quite a while. And I've only fired one person ever. Oh, it wasn't. It was it was in college. It was fired someone in college? Well, yeah, I worked for a little store. He was he was not customer service oriented. And he was the first to admit it. Let's just say that.

Unknown Speaker 00:52
Hey, everyone, good afternoon. I'm Douglas Hegley. I'm the Chief Digital Officer at Mia. We were talking about our experience. By my estimation, I think I've probably interviewed about 150 candidates for jobs. I myself have been interviewed maybe about 30 times in my career. I have definitely fired more people than you have. But I don't really want to talk about a number there.

Unknown Speaker 01:14
Had to fire someone right before Thanksgiving. So there's a story there. Yeah, I was not very charitable. I'm Dana Allen grill. I'm the Director of Digital Strategy at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. I've had six jobs after college. So at least eight or nine interviews. My last one for the Monterey Bay Aquarium was six different Skype sessions and then a full eight hours in, in person. So just that one interview, I think was like many gray hairs. And I probably interviewed people for about 12 different positions over the course of my career.

Unknown Speaker 01:53
So I'm Rob Mansfield, I'm head of it at the Yale Center for British Art. But today, I'm speaking largely from experience at my former job at the Davison Art Center at Wesleyan University, where I worked for many years and hired in lots of temporary employees for summer imaging projects, near as I could count a moment ago, probably interviewed about 85 or 90 people as hiring manager for those roles over the years, and was also on a good number of university search committees, not as hiring manager. I've been an interviewee very little myself, because I was in my prior job for a long time and was basically not looking for most of that time. And I have never had to fire anybody. But I within the scope of those time limited intensive projects where there would not be a window to rehire into a position. I've done some extreme hand holding and mentoring to get somebody through it. That's I know, I

Unknown Speaker 03:00
speak really close to it, I guess.

Unknown Speaker 03:03
Hi, I'm Karina Rach, go. I'm at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. And I actually maybe I have not done as much interviewing as either. Any of the people on this panel, I've done, I think, five, interviews myself, I've been at my current role or workplace for about nine years. And I've interviewed five people.

Unknown Speaker 03:26
And I don't know why we had the firing statistic, I started that we're never gonna talk about that today. So don't worry. I'm alright. So quick question for you, is what motivated you to come? And you know, we don't need to ask anybody about where they are with their career or what you're doing. But are you interested in getting better at representing yourself? If and when you were a candidate for a position? I know I am. Are you a hiring manager and you're interested in becoming better at interviewing people and finding great talent? Me to both? Are you new to the field? And are you thinking about finding a job in this field or changing careers into this field? Awesome. Okay. Are you later in your career and thinking ahead to maybe I want to change to a different type of career at some point. Okay, well, thanks. It's a pretty even split. All right. That is a good indicator. All right. We are exploring, there's not experts, right. So we all want to get better at all of these things as well. And that's why we're here. And this came out of a conversation about maybe it will be useful to talk about this for our particular community because it is a competitive field when you're trying to find a job in the museum community. And I know from my experience, there are a lot of things that I wish the candidates that had come to us knew in advance either about the organization or about what we were looking for and wanted to give some tips about that so I have much more experience in that room. I know others have more experience in being the candidate. I So we're hoping combined, we can provide some useful information. And then of course, you probably have more that you can you can provide to us as well. So it's hopefully going to be a good discussion, we're going to have an intro from Douglas. And then we're going to do some mock interviews, where we'll kind of point out various things along the way. It won't be the eight Skype sessions and day long interview that you had. And then we'll have open discussion. So any questions before we get started? Okay. Douglas, take it away.

Unknown Speaker 05:31
Thanks, Vicki. And I think one of the things that we were emphasizing in our preparations, we're not HR professionals, we're not here to teach you some lecture thing. We're experienced folks who've been through this a few times. And so we want to share our experiences and some of the things that we've researched, I think you saw the little fake posted note saying the slides will be available, because I'm gonna go really fast. Sorry, ahead of time, that's kind of me. We also have a Google doc online with a lot of tips and tricks and follow up material that we'll make sure that you get a hold of before we're done. So let's talk about hiring. I want to go through a sort of framing for us for this session. Think a little bit about the process and what works and what doesn't. And then we'll jump into some, as you said, some mock interviews and get some people up front here and see how they do your job, in some ways will be given the framing that I'm giving you, as you watch these mock interviews, what's going well, what's not going well, we're going to improve it a little bit, I'm going to jump in and stop the action once in a while and do some color commentary, maybe ask you some questions to hopefully that'll be fun and keep you awake at this end of the day session. So anyway, one of the issues that we have in our field a lot of other fields is that jobs, when they come along, they put us through the wringer in order to get them even entry level jobs in our field seem really difficult. The interview process, eight, six Skype sessions and eight hour interview. And you have to cook for them too. Okay, there's this kind of like Insanity about hammering people so hard to find out, I know that it's done from a place of sincerity trying to get the best employees. But the thing is, our goal is to get the right people. Because if you don't have the right people, things don't go well. But most of the techniques that we use to find the right people are completely wrong. They're very ineffective. One of the biggest issues that we have maybe across industries is this, I don't know if you can read it. But the issue is that people get interviewed for skills, when actually success doesn't depend on skills. Skills are generally things that are either prerequisites or things you can learn. When people are successful, it's because of who they are, how they behave, and how they interact with other people, their emotional intelligence, their attitudes, their values are much more important. It's a lot harder to ask questions about those things than it is about skills. But I'm not saying skills don't matter, at all skills are extremely important. Because they are essential. If you hire someone for a job to do a thing, and they don't know how to do that thing. You've already failed scale skills matter. But in many ways, skills become a lens through which you begin to filter candidates in order to get to the real things about them. Because I love this question from Seth Godin. We have similarly skilled people in different organizations with extremely different outcomes. It's not the skills that are making the difference. What makes the difference is who's around you. This is that famous Netflix deck, right? What makes a great workplace is having stunning colleagues. So how do we find stunning colleagues? How do you become How do you demonstrate in an interview that you will be a stunning colleague, because that's what we want? Well, typically, we lather rinse and repeat, right. And we've been doing this for a very, very long time, we write an incredibly complex job description, we post it all over the place, we get a pile of resumes, most of which are completely useless. We wandered through them for a while until we're exhausted, then we pick a few that looked like they might be my cousin. And then we interview them. And we pick one, it's really, really bad process is one that we keep repeating. We're going to try to demonstrate some things today that would make that process a little bit different. Another big problem we have is job descriptions, or PDS position descriptions that are complete garbage, right. They're just full of stuff, but they never actually really tell you what the job is. This is a partial list of skills necessary for a digital archivist job. It goes on and on. And on page after page. If you read this list of skills, and you can find someone who checks all these boxes, I want to meet that person because this is the definition of a unicorn. This is why we drive away qualified candidates by making our position descriptions, dumping grounds for every technology we've ever heard of. Better job descriptions are accurate and focused. They're done very intentionally, so that you're listing only those things that will matter for initial success in the role. One of our biggest issues is overstating qualifications. Then skills. I couple of years ago was reviewing a job description for beginning Help Desk position, guess what the educational requirement was? Master's degree? Yeah, no, you don't need a master's degree to be a really effective Help Desk technician. So we struck that and got it out. Those kinds of things simply communicate to the world that we're elitist. And we're exclusive. And we're not interested in anyone except

Unknown Speaker 10:30
kids of privilege, who managed to go to grad school and get a graduate degree in English literature. And now you know what I mean? Like, we really were blowing it when we do this kinds of thing. And the main thing for all of us is, Hi, I'm from my position as a hiring manager, you do all of this badly, you get lots and lots of crappy resumes that you have to spend all of your time wandering through, it's a complete waste, it's been a few hours upfront, save a lot at the other end. Screening resumes is really an interesting process. And in the handout that will provide you there's a lot more tips and tricks about this, one of the main things you're doing with resumes, is just looking for the basic qualifications. And if you've done a good job, and really been specific and focused on the job description, you can do this pretty quickly. Do they have the core set of skills necessary for initial success? All right, then once you've decided that the idea is to keep stepping people through things, we do a lot of email, follow up with resumes that look qualified, immediately get an email saying answer these three questions. And they're just three simple questions that kind of prove that you can actually do what you claim you can do on your resume. By the way, Google the questions and see if they if someone just copied it. And the thing that I would say is if people do Google it and copy it, but say they did, I'm cool with that, right? They're resourceful, no problem. The resumes that I get blow my mind. I've gotten resumes that are 17 pages long. For you know, a software engineer job, too long, too wordy, too comprehensive, every single thing, all the clubs you read in college 26 years ago, or using this obvious generic template, or it's so beautiful, I can't make head nor tail out of what the hell it says. Right? So it's not, it's your reducing clarity and confusing me and making me work hard to review your resume, guess what, what pile does that go in? It's immediately in the no pile. There's some research out of it absolutely mirrors exactly the same lists done beautifully and done simply. And the simple ones have a 40% greater chance of moving on, don't get fancy. Maybe you need to get fancy if you're a graphic designer for I don't know, beauty company, I don't know, not maybe not in the museum sector. But no typos, please no misspelled words, that's not hard. I get a lot of those, it blows my mind. Ultimately, what we're trying to do is find someone with a core set of skills to be successful, who will learn on the job. We can train skills, it's very difficult to train attitude. So let's talk a little bit about interviewing. Because that's what we're going to see in a few minutes. There are a lot of really bad interview questions. Anyone here ever experience any of these kinds of interview questions? I'm not going to pick on you to tell me what it was. But I'll highlight a couple of these right? The number one thing about bad interview questions is that if you ask seven, eight people the same question, their answers don't help you decide whether or not they can do the job better than one another. And you've probably heard some of these questions, Don, why are manhole covers round? Right? And you know the answer, but I'm not hiring a manhole engineer. Right, I'm trying to hire someone to be a project manager. So these kinds of trick or clever or cute or brain teaser questions, and there are books and books and books of these that you can buy. They're not helpful, that you're cherry picking, you're not actually finding out whether a candidate is a good candidate for the job that you're hiring for. Be careful of that. Good questions are open ended. And a very good interviewer is really good at two things. Shutting up and listening. Inexperienced interviewers when I'm coaching, new hiring managers talk a lot. They're nervous, they're trying to sell the job. They're trying to convince you, this is a really great place to work. Let me tell you all about the parking like they go on and on and on. The best thing to do is ask a question that really matters. How do you handle conflict? And wait and listen and be curious for someone's answer and follow up on it. You're trying to get at people's values and attitudes, not at their skill sets. You've already screened them for skill sets. That part should be done at that point. Let curiosity be your guide. When you're being interviewed, make sure you've done your research. Don't go in cold. Find out something about the company about the person who's interviewing you. There's this thing called social media, a lot of people use it, you can sort of find them there. honesty and authenticity are really key. Make sure you've prepared questions before you come in, and that they're smart questions and meaningful questions that help you understand the workplace. You are interviewing the person who was injured Viewing you it's a two way street.

Unknown Speaker 15:03
Common mistakes, certainly mistakes. I've seen these sort of humblebrag things. You know what people say about me My weakness is I just worked too hard. And I'm too successful. These things that people, it makes them feel inauthentic and and rehearsed people talking about themselves a lot, which is easy to do. And you're nervous, when actually all of us is hiring manager much more impressed to hear about how you work with other people don't really need to know all about you need to know about how you behave in a group. And don't overstate your role, because we actually call your references and ask them what your role was. So if you weren't managing that project, don't say you're managing the project. So you were part of the team. That's okay. Now, what you're really here for, we're going to set up some mock interviews. And as I sort of queued it up, before, I am going to be narrating and interrupting a little bit while we do this. Now, these are completely fictional characters. All right, no one's playing themselves. Our situation here is we have two experienced managers, let's call them Robin, Vicki, not their real names. Maybe it is their real names, but they're not playing Robin, Vicki. There we go. And what we have in front of them was coming excited for this possibility as a mid career museum professional who's really been successful, and is ready for a significant change of promotion ready to move up a little bit. So let's start this scenario and see how this interview goes.

Unknown Speaker 16:33
All right, well, thank you for coming in. First question, please tell us what has prepared you to make this career move.

Unknown Speaker 16:41
Well, the small unit that I work in, has been struggling with communication and follow through. No one knew who was doing what, and lots of backlog issues just kept on staying there for years and years. But last year, my boss asked me to step up and manage the unit. So I set up team check ins. And that's been a discussion forum for us to a forum for us to discuss and have goal setting. So collectively, we identify gaps in our workflows, bring ideas, nominate goals, and keep track of progress. check ins help us get on the same page and learn priorities. And I'll get on the same page about team priorities and roles. As a result, we've been able to refine workflows and completed two large backlog projects that had been on the backburner for years.

Unknown Speaker 17:36
Okay, who thought that was a good answer. I thought that was a really good answer. Did anyone notice two things she was doing with that answer? That's okay. That's alright. We're not going to worry too much. But you know what, from our perspective is hiring managers, someone who's a little nervous is actually a good sign. Because someone who's totally smooth, and it gives a radio voice and answers all the questions perfectly makes me creeped out. So here's a couple of things I noticed. First of all, she told a story. It had an arc. there was conflict, and there was resolution. She used the technique and answering this question. It's called the STAR technique. And if you're not practice that being interviewed practice the STAR technique, the STAR technique is situation. What was going on? Task? What were you asked to do? Action, what did you do? Result? What happened as a result of that? Now, the more you can rehearse that and make it a concise, shorter story, the better it will be. Let's continue.

Unknown Speaker 18:42
Okay, we have another question for you. We're really, really passionate here about our work and highly devoted to it. And that does lead us to work extremely long hours, much of the time. Are you prepared to work as much as the rest of us do in that way?

Unknown Speaker 19:01
I've been known to work extraordinary hours under extraordinary circumstances. While I'm happy to roll up my sleeves when there's an important project that needs an extra push. I make an extra effort to keep projects on budget and on time during the unusual work hours. Can I ask what are the project management tools you'd like to work use here?

Unknown Speaker 19:22
So I'll throw it back at you again. Good answer. Is really good answer. Notice what she did. So was that a good interview question? What does it make you feel about that workplace? get nervous about working there. So Karina, first you address the question they were asking look, I'm willing to um, I work as hard as the next guy. Can you tell me a little bit about how you structure your work? So now she's turned it back on the interviewers to find out what's going on in that workplace that makes you work all those extra hours? Because that's so she's being instead of sort of trying to please the interviewers. She Just figuring out what's going on if you made it, it's a potential red flags, you might not want to work here.

Unknown Speaker 20:04
And that and that was I'm jumping into commentator mode, go ahead. And that was one of several moments where it really makes it clear how much an interview is not a one way process, that it's really both parties interviewing each other in certain ways. Let's go the next one.

Unknown Speaker 20:24
Did anyone notice anything else? No. I checked my phone. While she was answering the question. incredibly rude. I would never do that. And I hope you never interview where that happens. Pretty much pretty much probably did a great job. All right. Next question. Can you tell us about professional failure you've experienced?

Unknown Speaker 20:51
Well, I think it's widely known that our in house ticketing system isn't working well, as much as we pour energy and hours into it. It just it's always been buggy. I actually never thought that we should take on ticketing in our unit. And if anything, we should be working with a third party vendor. Um, instead of struggling through it as we have

Unknown Speaker 21:09
been. So I'm gonna interrupt there. Day one notice any subtle moves that Karina was making that answer.

Unknown Speaker 21:19
institutional issues that question.

Unknown Speaker 21:23
You're on the right track? Was any of this her fault? Uh huh. So she started to demonstrate avoidance that she wouldn't be stepping up and taking responsibility. And Vicki, and Rob, as our interviewers will probably be taking note of this idea that she's the kind of person who might blame others, rather than figure out how she could bring value to the situation. So Karina, what would be a better answer?

Unknown Speaker 21:46
It took some time for us to realize that some of what we were working on what we thought were database bugs were actually caused by users putting in information and because of how the user interface worked. And so we realized that there are lots of problems that we could be addressing in the user interface that would improve our own data, and improve their lives. So overall, it made us think about connecting with our users more and being more in touch with them, and actually spending time not on the back end, but also in in the interface. But it also made us think more about problem solving and taking a step back in general, so that we weren't running our heads into the same problem over and over again, better. Why? We,

Unknown Speaker 22:32
I often

Unknown Speaker 22:34
feel frustrated when people are constantly trying to get us like, Oh, I'm just part of a group, the wrong direction. It's like, you know, who was more or less responsible within the group? Here, like you were saying, if you're asked about your professional failure, I'm very interested to hear that you're able to acknowledge that you did something wrong, you made the wrong judgment. And then I also want to hear, here's what I've learned. And here's what i

Unknown Speaker 23:05
Excellent, excellent. And you're absolutely right. What was the failure? What was your role in the failure? What do you learn from it? Absolutely.

Unknown Speaker 23:13
And we do have one more question for you. Do you have any questions for us?

Unknown Speaker 23:17
Well, how do decisions get made here?

Unknown Speaker 23:21
What do you think of that? Is that a good question to ask an interviewer? It's a fantastic question to ask an interviewer. What is she going to learn from the answer? I'm not going to make these guys answer because they. But the idea is, could we illustrate a question when someone says to you at the end of a near the end of the interview? Do you have any questions for us? And you say, tell me how decisions get made here. You're going to learn about the power structure in the organization, you're going to learn about delays in decision making, you're going to know whether nothing happens until the director signs off. Or if the team works together and takes care of things you'll learn about how much independence you'll have in the job. You can, of course, follow up on that question if the details are vague, but that's actually a terrific way for you to learn more about how that organization functions. Don't forget that one. Thanks, guys. Let's give him a hand.

Unknown Speaker 24:12
Turn the tables. And Karina is over here.

Unknown Speaker 24:19
I just want to make a comment because I feel like you picked up on the we versus me. And in your introduction, you said we don't want to hear me, me me. I think that the nuance there is to be clear what your role is on a team. So you talk about we but then you're clear what your role was within a team. And that's especially true for certain types of positions where you might be a team leader or a manager to talk about your team but also specifically what you're good, distinct. Good, good, good.

Unknown Speaker 24:45
Any other thoughts or questions about that scenario?

Unknown Speaker 24:53
Hard and I'll just say as to as Dana comes around, I think the we in the meeting, totally agree. And I think the big deal For me, if I'm interviewing somebody is if they are using a lot of we and us, and it relates to sharing credit for things. That means a lot to me if it's about accountability for things that went wrong somehow, I really love to hear more single, singular first person. Because it shows also that is somebody who is, in all likelihood, able to be accountable for things where maybe they did not themselves make all of the mistakes, but they still own it. And that can mean a lot.

Unknown Speaker 25:29
That's a really good point. Microphone issue. Okay. So we're into the next scenario. Yes. So here in this scenario, we have two mid level managers who are interviewing. And that would be Karina and Dana got it. Who are interviewing an emerging museum professional, who's seeking of his first museum job here in this photo in this photo archive scenario. So let's jump in.

Unknown Speaker 25:58
Okay. I will say quickly, sidebar, before we do, you'll notice that both when Karina was in the hot seat, and when I'm in the hot seat here, that we're referring to notes, she was doing that on her phone, I'm doing it on paper, I would never ever, ever, ever, ever do that if I were an actual interviewee for something. That's just an artifact of the fact that we're playing roles, and we need notes to get through these little performances. We're not modeling that behavior. Right? Oh, yeah. I mean, no harm in that. But I would actually leave them sort of tucked away. And then when they asked place

Unknown Speaker 26:30
in a script, I mean, I think certainly if an interviewee comes in with a notebook, and they're taking notes during the interview, that's wonderful, fine. If they, if when I asked, would you have some questions for us? They turn the page and they say, I thought about a couple here they are that that's completely fine. I think what you're saying is they're just kind of script

Unknown Speaker 26:43
looks like they're reading and then I would wonder what was actually going on? Wait, wait,

Unknown Speaker 26:47
that answers on page three. Okay, I got

Unknown Speaker 26:50
started that way, we let people know that we're going to be taking notes. Because my contact is so important. Sorry, that we let people know at the beginning of the interview, we're going to take notes, you're welcome to take notes. Just set the

Unknown Speaker 27:05
Okay, let's kick this one off.

Unknown Speaker 27:06
What interested you in this job?

Unknown Speaker 27:10
Well, I finished my museum studies degree in June, and my summer internship has just ended. And well, I really need a job. But I really want to work in a museum. Okay, time

Unknown Speaker 27:19
out. So where's he going? off the rails here? What's happening?

Unknown Speaker 27:29
If I'm a hiring manager, somebody who's interested in working here in this job at the museum, interested in paycheck work, most likely people. Interest?

Unknown Speaker 27:46
Yeah, yeah. So the kind of generic advice is in an interview, it's not about your general needs, right? So the interviewer doesn't need to know about your desperate situation for read paying your rent, what the interviewer needs to know is, is this person going to bring value to this organization? Will this person be a strong contributor to my team? So Rob, how might you rephrase some of that, so

Unknown Speaker 28:08
Okay, take two, I finished my museum studies degree in June. And between that, and the internship I just completed, I've learned a lot of things that seem to line up well with the position. I'm really eager to learn more about the job and the museum to get a better sense of what I could bring to it and how good a degree of mutual fit there might be.

Unknown Speaker 28:27
Not bad. Okay, what's next?

Unknown Speaker 28:33
What is your expectation for salary?

Unknown Speaker 28:37
Time out? So there's a couple of nuanced things here to know about it. Some of this is in the handout. There are several localities, I believe, a couple of states and some other cities, where it's illegal to ask someone their current salary. Don't ever asked someone their current salary. One of the reasons you don't is who cares what their current salary is, if they're skilled, and they're capable of doing this job, you should pay them for their skill set. They may have been completely underpaid in their previous job. It's not a relevant piece of information. They were clever. They Dana's clever, she got around it by saying, what are your salary expectations? That's not illegal. But it's a bad practice. Let's see how Rob handles it.

Unknown Speaker 29:18
Well, based on postings I've seen for other early career positions that seemed broadly similar to this one, it looks like something in the range of 50 to 65,000 could be typical for a position like this. But that said, I'm looking forward to learning more about the position to get a better understanding of what could make sense.

Unknown Speaker 29:36
It's not bad, he's done his homework. He's done some research. He knows what someone should get paid in this position. He hasn't revealed any demand. He's sort of expressed a little bit of flexibility. I think the hiring manager is still okay in this situation. Now, when I was talking about best practices, ultimately the best practices when you post the job, you should post the salary. How else will someone know if they're even interested in the job? And it's been proven through research that by not posting what the pay for a job is you funnel the resumes down there applicants down to people who don't care about how much money they're going to make people who already have money. And folks who need to make a living wage, people who need to know whether this job will pay for their rent, don't bother applying, because it's indicating that it's another job for people from families of means where the salaries irrelevant. So posting the salary is the right thing to do. Sometimes an HR department will push back and say, Oh, we won't be able to negotiate and, and, you know, what are you negotiating? We're museums. It's not like we're negotiating hundreds of 1000s of dollars in contracts, that negotiation might cost you three or $4,000, and bring you a terrific candidate.

Unknown Speaker 30:42
Yeah. And that's what ranges are for examined because they allow the conversation at some point to start engaging with compensation without somebody on either side. Especially the applicant having to suddenly like, name a number, right?

Unknown Speaker 30:59
So hardly even know you yet. This is only the second question like Why am I asking

Unknown Speaker 31:03
this would be a bet this would be a bad second question in an interview.

Unknown Speaker 31:07
Ultimately, don't ask that question that way, right? And don't ever answer directly. Really, because you might be really selling yourself short, don't ever answer directly do your research. Let's go to the next question.

Unknown Speaker 31:19
As you know, from the job posting, the ideal candidate will have museum experience web coding skills, UX background, and strong verbal and written skills plus be able to work independently and in in groups. I'm not sure your resume shows that you meet all these skills.

Unknown Speaker 31:35
Well, I, you know, I know what all those things are. But I haven't really done all of them. But I'm super confident I can handle whatever the job requires.

Unknown Speaker 31:45
I'm out. Do you believe him? Now Exactly. Right. So in these kinds of questions where people are looking at your skills, and this is particularly relevant to folks who are either changing jobs or early in their careers, of course, you don't have all the skills, you don't need to be embarrassed or worried or nervous about that. It's better to be very specific about what you do now, and what you're ready to learn. Rob, let's try another take of that one. All right.

Unknown Speaker 32:13
Well, I have experience in some of those areas, and I have enough of a sense of the others to know that I'm really motivated to come up to speed on them. My Museum Studies classes give me a solid base for understanding how museums function. And the internship I just finished, it's helped me see how some of that plays out day to day. More specifically, a big part of that internship involves shadowing and assisting museum web staff, including a UX person and a developer. I don't know much about UX. And it was fascinating to learn some things about it in that way. For example, to see how an interface that makes sense to me might not make any sense to less technically inclined people. And to assist in a very basic way with some user testing. And since I do have some coding background, I was able to do some deeper hands on work helping out the web developer implement a headless CMS, and that just went live. That was cool.

Unknown Speaker 33:01
It was cool. He even managed to throw a buzzword in there. He's got as good as headless CMS going. So maybe a little detailed, but he's getting into it right? And you starting to understand that he knows what he doesn't know. But he has a growth mindset, he's willing and able to learn those things. What's next?

Unknown Speaker 33:20
Do you have any questions for us?

Unknown Speaker 33:22
Um, I, I guess I should, but Well, can you tell me about parking.

Unknown Speaker 33:32
So that one was meant to be played for laughs a little bit. But we're trying to emphasize I think that point of saying, you know, come to an interview prepared, come to an interview ready to ask important questions that will help you decide whether or not you really want to work there. And ultimately, those questions impress us as interviewers, to know that you've really thought about this, and you're really considering the position whether or not you're a good fit in a way that we might not even be able to, to know,

Unknown Speaker 33:56
yeah, just a note that different organizations have a different process. I know in our federal organization, the negotiation of salary and benefits is after the interview. And in some cases, you'll talk to HR first. So it's not wrong to call the HR if you if you're asked to come in for an interview to call the HR contact, and ask them what the protocol is, what the process is, so that you're informed when you go in of what you should and should not talk about in the interview. It's not terrible, you know, but those kinds of questions just demonstrate a lack of that initiative. And it's kind of awkward for everybody. You're talking about parking.

Unknown Speaker 34:33
My favorite question to ask in an interview is what will be the biggest challenge that the person in this role will face? You'll always get really interesting, insightful answers that will help you decide to do actually want that job.

Unknown Speaker 34:47
There's a lot of like subtle cues to that you can pick up on during the interview process. If you've done your homework if you're prepared and you can actually observe the people who are interviewing you. We have to have between three and five people on an inner review panel, you can learn a lot from the body language and the way they interact about the culture of that organization if you're really paying

Unknown Speaker 35:06
attention, so what would you look for Vicky in body language,

Unknown Speaker 35:09
I think just the level of comfort that the people have with each other, whether it's too much or too little. Right? Right to to roll, they might not be getting along too much, it could be inappropriate, or it could just be they're not getting a lot of work done, right. So there's, there's all sorts of subtle cues that you might be able to pick up on. And it just, it just takes being observant. And a little bit of empathy to in terms of what people are dealing with maybe at any given time, if you're interviewing for a position that the person was recently fired, the people interviewing, you could be their friend, and it could be kind of a sad situation for them. So you never know what the story is behind these things. But just to be observant.

Unknown Speaker 35:56
Can I also say and I don't know if this was in your best practices, but in terms of being the interviewer, unless there's some reason that this role needs to like really think on their feet, I think it's really good practice to give people a heads up on the kinds of things you're going to ask them to talk about in the interview so that there they are prepared. Unless it's a role where they're the Director of Communications, they need to be able to answer any question that you throw at them. Like typically, like if you're hiring a developer, like it's not about putting someone in a hot seat and seeing how they can handle the pressure, especially in something like a Federal Environment Committee interview, you and five people, that's a really intimidating experience for people and maybe not anything like what their actual day to day work will be like. So if you can give give people a heads up, either, I'm going to ask you to show me some of your work, or I'm going to ask you generally about these kinds of projects, I always think that I get better answers and a better understanding of that candidate. And it puts them more at ease.

Unknown Speaker 36:57
Has anyone ever had a hostile interviewer? Yeah, and there's no telling what's behind that, you know, they'd have a friend that they want to get the job they you know, had a bad day, they didn't have their coffee yet, whatever. But you might end up in a situation with a hostile interviewer who just doesn't like any of your answers. So again, if the other people on the committee seem to be okay, then that's helpful, but a hostile Interviewer Yeah. Be prepared to be resilient and poker faced?

Unknown Speaker 37:29
Can you tell me how much of a working with each of you how much what in that situation? You got a group one person's clearly not dig in you? One of the ways you can find out about is I'm just curious. The person who comes into this position, how much will they be working with each of you? Because that person is going to be your supervisor, right? You learn something, you learn something that's just the grumpy IT guy who doesn't want to be there in the first place? Fine. Right. Did what you said you had a hostile interview?

Unknown Speaker 37:56
Yeah, well, it was part of a group interview, actually, for my current job. And I found out since I've done a door gets because that person was highly skeptical about the grant funding project, but I was being hired from disrupt the department. And we've since totally made it up on there, like a great part of that's good.

Unknown Speaker 38:12
So it had nothing to do with you. I bet.

Unknown Speaker 38:16
Yeah. And I think you just said something really key. If you can be in the mindset to say this isn't about me. It's about whatever's going on with Joe. Right. This is Joe's problem. And I I'm not going to fix Joe today, I need to put my best foot forward. Resiliency can be tough too, though, when you're in a stressful situation. And I will, I mean, all of you should maybe weigh in on this. I've interviewed a lot of people. And I really mean it. If someone's not nervous at all. That's super weird. I really like I need someone to be nervous. Now someone seems to be kind of freaking out. I I'm the kind of I'm a nice guy. I'm gonna step back and be like, I can tell you're really nervous right now. Let's just chill. Let's take a breath. And say like, I'm really happy that you're here. I'm glad we're having this conversation. I'm glad you're being honest with me. I know this is a completely false and interviews a completely false made up thing that you don't do very often in your life. And this is kind of uncool. But I'm here just to be honest with you, let's just be honest with each other and we'll work through this. Some people are more nervous than others. If someone's nervous, it flags to me that they care and they want the job. It's okay to be nervous. It really is. Thoughts. You guys are never nervous. Okay, good for you. Someone who's raised a hand over there. Yeah,

Unknown Speaker 39:30
well, and this may be something that differs to some degree across the kind of hiring I've mostly done, which is for time limited projects, where I think it would be unusual in one of those interviews for somebody to have been like, at least seriously nervous. But I think that's because in a clearer way, there's less at stake. This is something that they would really want to do for six weeks or 10 weeks, but it's not like their next job in an ongoing way. And I think that in a way that I'd never really thought up till now comparatively lets them not be so amped up about it. Like they may really want to do this, but they know what's going to end after a certain period of time anyway.

Unknown Speaker 40:16
So if someone's not nervous, is that actually a red flag to you as an interviewer? Or do you? Are you just like they're not that serious about this? Or? I don't know. I'm just curious because

Unknown Speaker 40:25
this is where it gets nuanced. And I think, you know, for me, there's a, I always have this kind of unfair advantage. I went to graduate school to become a clinical psychologist. I've done group therapy with schizophrenics. So I can kind of get in there in a way that you should ask people who I've interviewed. There's some of the conference Megan's here Gretchen's here, ask them what it's like to be interviewed by me, like they all leave thinking they never got the job. But because I'm digging, I'm really digging, I need to know what really makes people tick. Now, if someone's not nervous at all, it's possible. They're just very controlled, and they're able to really hold their emotions. So if someone's really not nervous at all, on the one hand, they might be super slick. That's problematic. It's like psychopathic, I'm turned off by that. But if someone's just really controlled, I'll ask them how nervous they are, like on a scale of one to 10. How nervous are you right now? And it's often surprising, they say, like, eight, like, okay, or near the end of the interview, I'll just say something like, so we've been through this interview, and we've been talking about this, and thank you for being honest with me. Can you tell me how badly do you want this job? And if the answer is like, no, I got other offers. Okay, now I understand. But I actually asked that question of someone who currently works for me, I didn't think she was into it. She was very controlled. She's very professional. She answered the questions appropriately. And I liked her, but she was kind of closed off. And when I asked him what she wanted the job she leaned in, she's like, I really want this job. I just saw the fire, right, that's what I need. So there are this triggers, sometimes that you can find in there. So you know, if you're someone who doesn't outwardly show your nervousness, don't practice being nervous, as I say, like, just be yourself. But be prepared to demonstrate a little bit of fire that you are excited,

Unknown Speaker 42:04
can I just add to that a little bit to be aware of your own bias and your own personality when you're interviewing that you need to hire for what's best for the role and for the organization, and not necessarily for your own personal preference. And I just think that's something to be aware of when hiring and also really be thinking about what does that specific role need? As I said, maybe it's okay for that person to be nervous, because we're not going to interact with a whole lot of people in a public facing way. And that's fine. But if it's someone who needs to give presentations all the time, maybe that's not the best fit. So

Unknown Speaker 42:42
I have a question about asking very, like questions that have are very technical, because you might be interviewing for a position where technical skills are the most important. So you don't want to set someone up with like a right or wrong answer, where they're just gonna, like, be right or wrong and fail. So can you talk about asking technical questions? Well,

Unknown Speaker 43:01
so I can tell you what we do that I think has been pretty effective. When we're hiring a technical position, there's a couple of things that are true. One, even if someone told me the question to ask, I wouldn't understand the answer. I'm the dumb boss, right. So I don't really understand the ins and outs of Docker. But I need to hire someone who does. So what we're going to do is we're going to form a team during that interview, that's going to include someone with a lot of technical knowledge. Now often the someone with a lot of technical knowledge has no skills as an interviewer, though, we get together ahead of time and sort of like, okay, you're gonna ask, we're gonna have this candidate, I'm going to be talking a lot. I'm Douglas, I talk a lot. When we get to the point where technical questions, can you prepare two or three questions that will allow this candidate to demonstrate to you that they're not just blowing smoke with his resume, they actually know what they're talking about? And show me those questions. So that I have an understanding where you're gonna go with them, I may not understand the answer. But after the interview is over, I'm gonna say, Bruce, thank you for asking those tough technical group. Bruce would be someone who I can rely on to do this. Because he knows a lot of stuff. I don't. Did that person know what they're talking about? Or not? And Bruce, because Bruce, it's a known quantity. There's a fact there. There's, yeah, I wouldn't want Bruce asking me any questions. But that's the approach that we've taken. And I also mentioned email. So when when we have like 1520 candidates that look really interesting. We've already spun up two or three questions that we'd email them. And we try not to make them something that you can just look up on StackOverflow. But, you know, just to see if they actually know what they're doing. The nuance there is, you know, there's these things called task based interviews or test based interviews where you send people like a real job to do that touches on the edge of labor law, because if you are asking people to work, you should pay them for the work. Now it's i It's nuanced and there isn't clear legal precedent for this that I know of, you can certainly ask people to do a couple things for you like fix a bug in these 10 lines of code is fine. But if you say, Here's my production website, it can't get the pictures load on this page. And they fix that you really should pay them for that work. So just think carefully about what you're doing with a task based question. Other thoughts?

Unknown Speaker 45:15
Well, I just, I wanted to add to that a little bit, sorry, just to say, same have usually had to bring a developer in if I'm interviewing a developer to understand if the answer is a good one, but to ask questions that also get at their thought process. So like, hey, just like view the source code on our existing site? And like, what are the things you notice? What might you tackle first and get a sense of how they approach a problem, I feel like that's useful for me as the manager, and also useful then for the person who understands technically what they're talking about to see. Is this a good fit?

Matt Tarr 45:51
So just looking things up on Stack Overflow is like 80% of a programmers job. So just knowing Stack Overflow probably qualifies them for the job. But okay, so here's my personal selfish question. Like I've only interviewed for, like a few, maybe not even interviewed, really, but just had the conversation with people a couple of times in the last 20 years, right. And I'm always, at least I think, not nervous at all, because I have a job that I love. And I really have even before that I really sort of tried to recognize, because of my own personal failings or whatever, that this is a two way street. This is a relationship of equals, that is not my superior sitting across the table from me. So I guess I just want to hear a little bit more about that. Have I not gotten all these cool

Unknown Speaker 46:36
jobs? Oh, oh, that's what people say.

Unknown Speaker 46:39
I'm not like nervous.

Unknown Speaker 46:41
I don't want to guys, please don't let me overplay the card. I think. First of all, we were talking about this scenario where we had an emerging professional, primarily, and it's not like a big gold star, if someone's sweating. All I'm trying to say is that if someone's nervous, and there's stuttering a little bit and they flub an answer, that's okay. They're just a little bit nervous. That's fine, be human. If someone's not showing any signs of nerves at all, I'm curious, maybe Dana Karina, because maybe it's less than an issue for you, for me, because of the way my team's work. And I know how the colleagues that they'll be joining, if they come in as a very rigid, stiff, super professional, unattached person, they're not going to be accepted onto the team is not going to work. So if some of its specific to our workplace, but I still think if we make that argument that a stunning workplace is stunning, colleagues, I need to see some of that stunning this. And maybe it's just smarts, that's stunning. And that's okay, for the role calls for that. So it's not an absolute requirement that people be nervous. It's also not oops, they're out because they were nervous,

Unknown Speaker 47:44
I think you said something really important, which is you are also interviewing that organization to make sure it's a good fit for you. And frankly, when I'm interviewing that makes me feel less nervous. Like, this is also about me, asking them to understand if this is a good fit for me, and it makes me feel more confident. So I actually think that's really good advice, just in general to look at it that way. You know, if you also do need the paycheck, but to kind of approach it like this is a two way conversation. Let's make sure this is a good fit on both ends, and it makes you appear confident.

Unknown Speaker 48:15
Yeah. And like you I haven't interviewed that much over many years. And several years ago, I started interviewing for jobs again, I'm like, Whoa, I'm at a practice. So I know people who constantly interview just to keep themselves able, you know, and up on their skills with it. And that's one strategy. But informational interviews, if you're switching careers, and you want to know what a different job is like, or a job that you're transitioning into, that's a good thing to do. Those are easy. For the most part. So

Unknown Speaker 48:45
do we sorry, I know you're walking up for another question. Well, we have this option at this point, whether we want to break out groups or kind of stay big. What do you think?

Unknown Speaker 48:53
How do folks feel like it's going so far? Do we need to break out into groups or continue the q&a? stay this way? Okay. Well, good then.

Unknown Speaker 49:02
So I'm curious, kind of related to the interview, but kind of just outside of that interview about contacting people right before after and how direct you can be. I know I always struggle with the like, how direct Am I about Are you hiring? Do you have positions open versus just showing interest and how soon after you can follow up without smothering them and you know, coming off as overly eager, but you don't want to come off as cold and attached either.

Unknown Speaker 49:37
I think part of it depends on the nature of that follow up. If it's a really concise, professional, low key. Just thought I'd check back about prospective timeline. And it's kind of left at that. perfectly cool if it's a G I'm really so excited about this and I really hope I can find out right away and it depends on how you play it, at least for me,

Unknown Speaker 50:01
I love getting an email from someone I just interview that says thanks so much. It was a pleasure meeting you. You know, I love your decision, no determination of you know, what's happening.

Unknown Speaker 50:11
I think I have two thoughts. One, don't leave the interview room until you have asked a little bit about that. Yeah. What what are the next steps? What's the timing? How can I get a hold of you if I have further questions? What how to set some expectations about how that chain will unfold? The other thing and you guys would probably laugh at this, but I have to coach my hiring managers, not to immediately hired the only person who sent a thank you note. Because it's so effing impressive. When someone sends a handwritten thank, you know, they're like, Oh, my God, we're hiring them. But what does that tell you like you can really influence a hiring manager by being professional by being courteous by sending a handwritten thank you note actually makes it big and bigger than it should in my opinion. But man, it's your job. So if you really want that job, those little things can really matter.

Unknown Speaker 51:05
Yeah, I have to I'm gonna counterpoint just a little bit. I actually really don't like a handwritten note, because I'm always hiring in digital. And I'm like, why aren't you sending me an email or connecting with me on LinkedIn? Like, to me, it actually signals something else. But maybe that's just personal preference. But I do think you want to thank them for their time, say what you thought was a really good fit, and maybe send them a link to something you've done as like, oh, we touched on this. But like, if you want to see more example, something that also gives them an action, and frankly, like, they want to get someone in that position. And if there's a delay, it's probably something going on in the organization and not because that person just like forgot about you,

Unknown Speaker 51:44
Dana, would you feel so one of the things that I like someone sends me that email and says it was a delight to meet you, I remained really interested in the position. I thought of one more question. And they asked a smart question. Because it was that do instead of the question we'd like, did I get the job? Which maybe I can't even answer. And now you send me or you send me? Thank you, Douglas. Like, I'd probably don't reply to that. But if you say thank you, Douglas. Oh, and I had this question. You mentioned this methodology used in projects, and I was reading about it, and do you use this type or this type? Now we have to answer. So now we're communicating and like that's, that's not a bad relationship.

Unknown Speaker 52:17
I think that's great. Just don't do that for a government job, because they won't be allowed to respond to you, because it wouldn't be equitable. Just so FYI. Like sometimes it's not actually about you, it's that they need to ask everyone the same questions and give everyone the same information. So they may just respond and say, we'll let you know.

Unknown Speaker 52:34
Yeah, just to echo Douglass's comment about asking at the end of the interview, what the process is, because you're right, in the federal government, you wouldn't call me for a status update, you would call our HR person. So that's just how it works.

Unknown Speaker 52:48
question to follow up on what you just said, My concerns are we've shifted our hiring practices to be more inclusive and more equitable. And we now are under a framework where we have to ask the same questions. So some of some of what you've been describing has been more freeform, and hey, I can fly by the seat of my pants, I can dig I can tick. What strategies do you have when you have these constraints for good reason, but you're not quite always able to take you might be part of the hiring committee where you only get the one question, what strategies do you have for really trying to surface some of those ideas or behaviors you mentioned, you'd get in other ways?

Unknown Speaker 53:28
Before Douglas speaks specifically to eliciting desired things like that, I'd say in broad terms, to work down a set grid of questions for all applicants is something that I've typically done for the project hiring I've done, but I try to keep each of those questions. So open ended, aside from an occasional really tightly focused technical one, that in the course of answering any one of the more open questions, it really turns into a conversation. And it's not just a question and then an answer for however long the answer is, it turns into a couple of minute conversations spurred by that question. And at that point, it's it's been, it has been consistent for the questions being asked, but the ways that that has led conversationally to different places can often be really useful.

Unknown Speaker 54:17
Yeah. And the federal government, we have to ask the same questions of all candidates, but we do have the leeway like you said after you asked that question to then have some conversation within that question. Wow.

Unknown Speaker 54:33
Candidate speaks until candidates

Unknown Speaker 54:38
that yeah, that's hard. Please, expand

Unknown Speaker 54:44
Yeah. Did you want to Yeah, no. So that's a really tight constraint. Are you also handed the questions or could you be part of crafting them?

Unknown Speaker 54:54
Sometimes we can get more of the question that's being asked but where I find most neat ways with Ah,

Unknown Speaker 55:01
yes. And I can kind of pivot a little bit. That's good. Yeah, and I certainly can't feel hamstrung. And I think but for the right intent, I'm not sure the impact, I'm not sure the impact is what they're intending it to be. But so this book that's up on screen hiring for attitude, is a really interesting methodology for forming questions, so that you can actually get to values and attitudes instead of maybe the questions you're being handed, which makes it possibly very difficult to distinguish candidates one from another. So I don't know if you can, I will tell you the book is not the greatest book in the world. And the guy who wrote it, Mark Murphy, at the end of every chapter, he says he does it better than anyone else in the world. So you should hire him to do it for you. So you can skip the last two paragraphs of every chapter, but but they were the methodology they use to suss out your organization's values and how to ask questions that will then help the candidate determine whether or not they share those values is really, really brilliant. There's also one chapter that walks you through a process by which you can determine if someone is coachable or not. You can get to growth mindset. And it's a very specific set of questions, if you could wrap those into your process that at least would be really illustrative is this person open to learning or not? Again, not the greatest book in the world. But the methodologies in the book are really tight. I think it's tough when you're handed it from someone else from some HR group. You know, I do Admittedly, I have freedom to interview in in ways that allow me to go a little bit deeper and really find out what's going on. But I'm also hiring senior managers, most of the time is a little bit different process. I think just a heads up, yeah.

Unknown Speaker 56:37
Hi, our department and our HR has shifted a focus to try to promote internal hiring, like give people the opportunity to move up through the organization, how does that change your expectations as a hiring manager when they might know the people or everybody in that interview panel, they might know some of the more you know, how do decisions get made? How does that affect your thought process when you are interviewing internal candidates?

Unknown Speaker 57:09
I just did this actually just hired a promoted our departmental admin because she's terrific. She's here, the conference name is Gretchen teller, she's terrific. And then had to hire in back into that position and end up being an internal hire somebody who came out of ours and visited experience group, who was terrific, actually, it was a completely open posting, and we had 150 candidates from all over the place. But she was the best. But you're right now she doesn't need to ask questions about parking, or about how decisions are made? Or about who's who? You know, I've met this person before. So yeah, I think it does. There's no question it shifts it, how do I stay equitable? And not simply favor this person? Because she's familiar. How do I make sure that I'm asking her the same set of questions I've asked the other candidates tracking and being curious about and following up on her answers in the same way. It's implicit bias is real. It's also really hard to know when you're swimming in your own implicit bias. So what we try to do, and I think it's what some of you have talked about, make sure it's a panel, make sure it's a panel that has some kind of diversity on it. And I mean, diversity of age, gender, racial background department that they work in, so that we have other perspectives on in the room so that at least maybe my implicit biases are overcome by someone else in the room, or we can balance each other out in some way. Being fair is really hard. It's also really, really important, and it's a responsibility as a hiring manager.

Unknown Speaker 58:36
Yeah, we're really lucky in that Smithsonian, we can have people from other museums be on our hiring panels. So it could be someone who's never worked with the internal person before. And so they're more objective than folks who've worked with them. But we also if we're doing internal announcements, they're still internal to all those Smithsonian, you know, so there's more competition as well.

Unknown Speaker 58:59
I've actually, this wasn't at the Smithsonian, but I've actually been the interviewee where it was someone from the outside that they just brought in to help with the interviewing. And frankly, all of the internal, all of the experiences I've had where we were in interviewing, and we included we had internal most most of these places, you actually had to interview the internal candidate, even if they weren't, didn't meet the qualifications. Just even to just give them practice and to help them understand different departments was to treat them the same, I'll always have a script of questions to treat them the same as anybody else that they have the same chance to, to show that they're the right fit for that job.

Unknown Speaker 59:40
And just to add to having the same scripted questions, we also come up with a rubric of must haves and those are kind of the internal qualities like things like growth mindset, or whatever and it's very, I reflect on the job description that we came up with and I think about what that person needs to hit the ground running, and I and then I can I have actually elaborate on that. And then I have the committee actually working on working through that form and giving me feedback through that form. So I think as an interviewee, I would also be thinking about what does that look like? And try to exude that.

Unknown Speaker 1:00:19
Has anyone ever been in an interview and had a really off the wall question and just kind of hit a wall, weren't sure how to proceed or just was really flubbing it? I mean, you know, trying to come up with an answer, I think, yeah, brave, you won't have to share it. I'm just saying in those kinds of situations, the mock interview process is actually really useful, especially if you're changing to a different job. But to just sit down with someone that you know, but isn't so close to what you do that it would be a little bit too weird. To get some objective feedback about how you're answering questions.

Unknown Speaker 1:00:55
Also just rehearsing, rehearsing. So even if you don't get a lot of feedback, just someone you trust, just ask you the question five times answered five times until you feel comfortable, right with the rhythm and how it's going. But it's

Unknown Speaker 1:01:06
amazing once you actually verbalize it, how useful that is. Just a thought.

Unknown Speaker 1:01:13
We haven't talked about it. Actually, on that thought, when I raised my hand, and I was like, Oh, I'll put it down. I don't need to speak it out loud. But I actually think it might be helpful for other people to hear. So the most just like gobbledygook question that I've ever seen heard in an interview was I was as brought in as a finalist between myself and another person. And we were asked to come in on campus for an all day, you know, you meet a bunch of people in a row, and you're like, exhausted by the end of it. And I met with the head, the director, and one of the questions it asked on the spot was, tell me why the SIR quotes here, tell me why. What are what differentiates you? I have an internal candidate. Why should I hire you over an internal candidate? That very bad question. Like, you could take it straight to HR. But but it was a situation where I kind of already knew there was an internal candidate. So that part wasn't surprising. But being face to face with someone tell, I say, Well, why should I hire you? Because I'm coming into the organization versus someone who already knows how it works. Someone who knows how the hierarchy works, knows and has a relationship with the hiring manager for me, and I, you know, you tried to find the silver lining, and no one's ever being bad. I think this person was genuinely saying, I have someone who already knows how this ship works. Why should I take an onramp? With you? And I'm not saying it's a fair question or a legal question. However, it stumped me for like two seconds. Sure. And then I don't it's not a good question, but I can't answer it.

Unknown Speaker 1:03:08
i Yeah. I will just new perspectives. It's always nice to have a fresh perspective, you know, and see things from a different angle and could probably bring some new and interesting creativity to the role. You know, there's always fun ways. Yeah, but you're right, really backrest it. That's it Cringer.

Unknown Speaker 1:03:30
I have an example. Someone at this conference, once interviewed me for a job did not hire me for the job. But she's not better. No, it's all good. But the question was just in case this ever happens to you, the question that really stumped me was what is your superpower, which I understand is now more common. This was a couple of years ago, but I just really tanked on that one. And I felt really embarrassed because I felt like it was testing my creativity. And I just, I was prepared with like, how I really match the skill set and all the things that I done, and I sort of forgot that, like, I'm a person who has, you know, individual characteristics that are fun and creative. So I was so serious about the interviewer that I just couldn't, like, answer that question. So, I've even been practiced with my current job. I practice like jokes about the ocean, just to like, I did not have to use them, thank goodness, they would have not hired me, for sure. But like, just to, like, remind myself to like, be fun and silly and like, that's part of who I am. And if they want me then they want me for all of me and not to take it too seriously. I don't know.

Unknown Speaker 1:04:39
And that's a great comment about authenticity. Because if you're being yourself in the interview, and then they hire you, that means you can be yourself at work. If you have to not be yourself to get hired. Work is gonna suck because you have to come in every day and not be yourself.

Unknown Speaker 1:04:56
I don't know what my superpower would be.

Unknown Speaker 1:04:59
Well, it's one of those do big trick questions, and no matter what the answer is, so if I asked the four of you will you suit and Vicki's invisible and Rob can fly and Dana can, I don't know, breathe? Saltwater, you breathe underwater. Karina can fly airplanes in their mind. How does that tell me? How would How do I now decide which of them is going to be a better project manager? It's

Unknown Speaker 1:05:20
one of those cutesy questions. The superpower thing is now the word like career, right? Career Development space, because I've listened to like career podcasts. And it's like this whole thing of like, define your superpower. And like understanding like, what's your special like? So that might have been

Unknown Speaker 1:05:37
what you mean? Like a brand thing? Like your

Unknown Speaker 1:05:40
personal brand? Like,

Unknown Speaker 1:05:41
what's your special thing that makes you super productive? Or like your one skill that's like, kind of a meta reflection on? Like, what you're really, really good at on like a meta level. So

Unknown Speaker 1:05:52
I think that's not a bad way to start the answer, right? Because if someone says, What's my superpower to say, I can fly like, you know, it's an hour an hour in love and crazy Ville. But what you just said, would be a terrific way to start the answer like, well, I interpret your question as asking me what I bring that's unique to this. And something from my background that I think really would make me very successful or help your team be successful is, I think I'm fine with that. But if you're a hiring manager, please don't ask that question as an inane question, if you get asked silly questions like that, I guess what we're all saying is try to turn it to what I'm trying to communicate about me and what I bring to the, to the table. So even if I asked you why manhole covers around, don't answer that question, like get get around to some thing that demonstrates that what, what is the value that you bring? And it's not whether or not you can figure it out about manholes? It's that, you know, whatever task you're given, you can do the research and sort that out. But I would let you know, I had a friend who was asked that question, and and he tried to answer it and flubbed it. And it was really frustrated afterward. And later, he said, You know what I wish I'd done. I wish and when they asked me, Why is the manhole round, I wish he would have said, Oh, I didn't know we'd be designing manholes.

Unknown Speaker 1:07:09
It's always after you leave that you think of the best answer. Yeah, I mean, you're gonna love answers from time to time and the interviewers are gonna ask you back questions from time to time, doesn't mean the job would be terrible, right, necessarily. We're all human here.

Unknown Speaker 1:07:31
So I think you brought it up earlier, and we got the talking about handwritten thank you notes. But as far as and you've mentioned it as well with reaching out and contacting interviewees about, you know, preparing them for the interview. If you're going to be interviewed for a position, what is your all opinion about the interviewee reaching out and saying, like, what are we going to talk about in the interview? If you're not providing sort of preparatory statements? Like how do you feel about someone that your interviewer asking you for that kind of preparation?

Unknown Speaker 1:08:05
That's a tricky one. I think it would depend a lot on the way in which the interview errs, conceive of that process. I could, I could see some saying, Oh, cool. He's really proactive and rolling with it and supplying some things. I could see others thinking, wow, that strikes me as a little bit pushy. It wouldn't strike me as bad pushy in that way, it would just sort of like surprise me. And then I think, okay, but it's tricky, because if I'm giving this person a heads up, then I'd want to be giving all of the interviewees a heads up. And that's kind of a slippery slope. And I'd probably just reply back and say, Oh, gee, that's not quite how the process works here. But thanks for asking.

Unknown Speaker 1:08:43
Yeah, that's federal rules. Again, you know, you'd have to talk to the HR person you wouldn't be able to, to get directly.

Unknown Speaker 1:08:49
Yeah, cuz the thing I'd want to avoid would be having the one interviewee to whom that idea occurred, getting the sneak preview on the questions. And then once I had completed all the interviews, I'd have this heterogeneous data set right with like, this really super solid well thought through answers from the person who actually didn't so much have to think everything through on the fly. Yeah, lined up with others who were really just winging it.

Unknown Speaker 1:09:19
Sorry, frankly, though, if they're giving you no heads at who you're gonna meet, or what you're gonna do, red flag. Yeah, like a red flag. What's your onboarding experience gonna be like in that organization? Like, how are you going to get up to speed so I feel like I would still ask the question in Cincy Yeah,

Unknown Speaker 1:09:37
addendum to what I said you do, you do. Contact the HR person. But once we get to the final candidates, like the three or five people that we're going to bring in for interviews, you do talk to them directly to arrange a time to arrange a date. And they can ask questions and you know, that's perfectly fine. And if there's something they ask that you feel gives them an unfair advantage than emailing all of the candidates, hey, by the way, this is You know, something you should know? That's, I think perfectly.

Unknown Speaker 1:10:03
Yeah, totally and absolutely about things like the schedule for the full day of interviews. I mean, if, if those didn't come out in advance, if you're expecting candidates, or if you as a candidate, were being expected to just, like, show up for like a nine hour day and have no idea who you'd be meeting with. And when, I don't know, for me, that would be a red flag. It's like, wow, if this is how this process runs, I'm not sure it's a good fit. For me.

Unknown Speaker 1:10:29
One challenge I had with interviewing was, we were interviewing five candidates, and one of them was traveling at the time. And within the timeframe that we had available to do interviews. She couldn't help it, she was out of the country. So she had to Skype her interview. And, you know, I just wondered if that was fair for her because technology being what it is, especially an international call, you know, it could make her interview go a certain way, and just being in person with someone is much different feel. So I did worry a little, you know, is that an unfair disadvantage, but you do what you have to do right? In whatever situation, so you make it as fair as possible.

Unknown Speaker 1:11:07
Yeah. And in situations where I haven't been hiring manager, but have been on search committees, typically, for collections related, permanent jobs at the university, that was the parent institution where I used to work. That was always tricky, because they're often would, on the one hand, be really strong candidates who live too far away. To make it they're on a quick trip, but there might not be a hiring budget that would enable flying all those people in right. And at that point, really, the best approach that we could typically find as a committee, would be to try to be as self aware as we could about the things that are different in a social interactional way, when it's over Skype, try not to discount anybody because it was a little bit awkward, which can be as simple a thing as latency and a connection, where things can read as socially like, you know, it was just it didn't flow like it did with the people in the room. But that can be because there's some milliseconds of lag. And it's, you know, conversation doesn't really work that way. And to try to take the step back and say how much of our sense of this person is really based on them? And how much of it is some kind of artifact of not actually having been face to face? And I don't think you can completely tune that out. But it's important to try,

Unknown Speaker 1:12:27
we veered off a little bit, but do we answer your question?

Unknown Speaker 1:12:33
At my work, we have a pretty strict hiring process within the library within the college. And it's always, video calls for the first round of interviews for everybody, even people who are currently on staff have to like go into a different room and be on a zoom call, I'd love that. I love that. But they actually keep that fairness that way. And then they only bring in like the final two or three candidates for in person. And so it's a little bit easier that way.

Unknown Speaker 1:13:04
While you get to manage and say, I will post these slides late tonight, or sometime tomorrow morning, you might not be able to read what's up there right now. But each of these is a hyperlink to a resource that we think might be useful to you. Sort of pointless now. But when you grab the slide deck, you'll see it yes, I'll be on more more than what we've talked about him.

Matt Tarr 1:13:23
So this might be a little beyond the scope. So I apologize, feel free to ignore it. But I was reading a couple of years ago about the we had done a couple of hire, you know, hires and how it's really like, like hiring on interviews is a really bad idea. And I don't remember what the options were now. But like, it's just that you have this like you look at the resume. Oh, I think they said like literally the hiring from resumes was better than actually the interview because you're so biased, less bias, friendliness, and like, all these weird cues that you're on incapable of sort of negating that you hire the person whom you just sort of vibe with or whatever, something like that. But it was literally said that better hires from like, interviews that you never meet, you know, resume you want me to do?

Unknown Speaker 1:14:08
It sounds wonderfully controversial. But I think, you know, one thing that I envy, you know, if you look at private sector, software companies, and Matt, you know, this, a lot of times they'll they'll have openings, they often are hiring a lot of developers maybe hiring at developers, but now they'll get 1000 resumes and they'll screen them quickly. And I'll get down to maybe 100 developers, what they'll do is they'll hire all 100 for a three month period, pay them a wage to come in and just start working, knowing full well that a couple will bail, and then the other 15 or so that they aren't going to be able to keep will, you know the cream will rise and they won't be able to step up and really do the work and there'll be thanked for their effort and off they go. We don't have that option, like in our industry, like are often hiring one person who's going to be around for a several years who might be hard to get rid of. So they kind of do Difficulty of really digging in and say like, I'm sorry, man, I'm just not gonna hire someone by reading a resume, I gotta sit down and talk to that person. And yes, I have occasionally hired people who I've only met via online calls because they just live far away, and I don't have the money to fly them. But they've managed to rise to the top and we've gotten in there and hired them, they've been just fine. So I hear you, we're all biased, it's really hard to check your bias, because you don't know you have the bias. We're all prone to look for clones of ourselves and you fighting against us really, really important that I still think the best way to do it is make sure it's a group, make sure it's not just you, it makes you the group of people with different perspectives and opinions.

Unknown Speaker 1:15:40
Yep. Oh, I was just gonna say, you know, following up on what Matt was talking about, is that I think it is a radical idea, but that the truth behind it is, we tend to, as you say, hire people who are like us. Why? Because we find them credible, people who are unlike us, we find them less credible, because we can't project them into the role where we know, oh, this person is like me. So they're going to perform perfectly. And I think this this is the real problem with implicit bias is that you know, it exists. It's very difficult to counteract I can't emphasize enough the importance of having diverse people on your interview team are coming from all different perspectives, and also really getting to know the interviewee not just Do you know this? Do you know that? Tell me about a time that you did this or that the best hires I've had are when people told us an authentic story. And you can tell when it's made up or authentic, about how they solved a problem at work, or how they grappled with something. Because this problem, credibility. I mean, we have great exhibit developers at the Exploratorium. But we have an awful lot of bicycle mechanics and motorcycle mechanics in that workshop because they all connect with each other like, oh, yeah, you

Unknown Speaker 1:17:03
work a motor goosies,

Unknown Speaker 1:17:04
too. Yeah, you're great. And they they are good. And but there are other people who might also be good. So this problem of credibility is a huge Sleeping Giant, who you find credible or not, for reasons that have nothing to do with their ability or their emotional intelligence or any of that.

Unknown Speaker 1:17:26
Good point, difficult point. But really good point.

Unknown Speaker 1:17:29
Yeah, really good point. Any change? Okay, I think we're getting laid here. So

Unknown Speaker 1:17:40
I don't know if I missed this is. I just wanted to ask about informational interviews and kind of how do you go about that? I guess, like, what is kind of the protocol, you want to just like, explore a different career within museums, or even, like, whatever, just any kind of hypothetical scenario if you want to learn what skills you need to build, or just learn more about, like, what a certain position is? Because I find it like coming into museums, like it's just confusing, like, what are all these jobs? And what's actually happening? Yeah.

Unknown Speaker 1:18:14
So there's some information in the handout about that, which hopefully will be helpful. And I think we all have some thoughts on this. But, you know, I believe that, especially maybe in our sector, almost all human beings respond well, when they're asked for help. So that kind of like, I could really use your help. I could really use your advice, Matt, I could really use your advice. I'm thinking about finding a job and the kind of thing that you do. Can we grab coffee sometime? Can I just pick your brain for half an hour about how you got into the position you're in? And, and any advice you might have for me? Are you gonna say no to that? Well, you might say, No, I'm teasing you. Oh, yeah.

Unknown Speaker 1:18:55
I think you Yes. And I think you need to show that you've done some of your homework a little bit. Right. So it's not just like, you know, you could have googled that, like, you don't really need half hour of me with coffee. So I think it's showing like I've, I've looked at this or I've thought about this, the reason I want to talk to you is XYZ and then yes, I think along with what you're saying people also really like to talk about themselves and their own career path. So like, I really want to hear how did you get that role? People usually say yes to that. And coffee or offering coffee or to me, you know, that kind of way. I think it's a good

Unknown Speaker 1:19:35
yeah, I would agree. I think just reaching out and then sometimes through your own network. Yeah, like being here and finding someone and oh my gosh, what kind of job is that? Wow, do you have a minute to go? That kind of thing. But even you know, stalking them on Twitter, whatever. It can, it can work but through your networks. I mean, like Douglas has sent some people my way and have had delightful conversations with some very very bright, very smart people. And thank

Unknown Speaker 1:20:01
you. Thank you. Those were generally interns we had people in and they're very curious about their futures. And they want to ask them a few questions about the kind of thing they imagined doing. Like, Vicki doesn't work like that. So I'll connect them to Vicki. And Vicki is a generous person. And she gives them some time and they come back going, Oh, my God, she's the most wonderful person on earth. And she is so

Unknown Speaker 1:20:20
well, I have to say one of the most delightful encounters I had was, I was standing downstairs in our museum in the middle of the lobby, waiting for someone, and this woman came up to me just out of the blue, and she's like, Do you work here? And I said, Yeah. And she said, I applied for a job here. And I just, I'm curious, but at first, I was like, Oh, no. Right? And like, I'm not gonna be able to help her. I'm gonna feel awful. And she had a really insightful question. She's like, I'm just curious how the process works. And, you know, what do you happen to work in this department? And she had really great questions. She, she was very personable. So you know, it's not creepy to come out of nowhere. But she's very authentic and very sweet. And I really hope she gets a job. Because she'd be great to work with. But anyway, sidebar.

Unknown Speaker 1:21:09
Quick question, do you have any advice for how to sort of survive the long day interview so like, it can be very emotionally draining? By the time you get to maybe like, the fourth or fifth person to be perfectly honest with you? And so do you have any advice either mentally or physically or, or just like emotionally staying connected in the interview, when it's like three o'clock, and you've been there since night, any advice would be really helpful.

Unknown Speaker 1:21:35
The only thing to my mind is probably pretty obvious. But if there are little slivers of time in there, if an interview naturally winds up a couple of minutes early, and anybody that whoever is sort of like leading you around, like, offers you a moment to like, Oh, would you like a moment to like, there's this empty office, nobody's in there, or whatever. I mean, take that moment. Go somewhere, take the deep breath, come back fresh. The other thing that isn't exactly that, but that can happen is in those long days of interviews, remember earlier on we were talking about have a question ready for the interviewer. If it's not just the initial one hour interview, but it's the day of interviews. And I won't be too specific here. But I'll say this is from my personal experience in one day like that, have a bunch of those questions ready. Or if or at least, if you feel like by the end of the day, you'll be so exhausted, that you might not be able to think up a good one on the fly, have a bunch of those ready, because I once hit the end of one of those days. And of course, the way those days work, usually the last conversation is with somebody who has a lot of clout, and I blanked, like an all I could think of to try to recover with was, you know, gee, it's been such a full day. And I've had such great conversations with so many of your staff that, frankly, I don't have any questions right now. And I just decided, all I can do is own this and try to reflect back on to the people who work there and what they don't. But it was like a Hail Mary pass. It was like, I really should have had a question. But I was just like,

Unknown Speaker 1:23:14
I think it's also okay to ask everyone the same question. And admit that I'm asking everyone this question. How did teams get formed here? And how who assigns their work? So that's just something straightforward, like, and you can say, I'm asking everyone this question. And what if you get a different answer from everyone you ask? That's kind of illustrative. Right? So that's one way. When you talk about resiliency. I think Dana's gonna dive on this one too. Yeah, but, man, just three cleansing breaths can help sometimes. And don't be afraid to ask for a bathroom break. Right? Like it just yeah, sometimes it's got to get away from people for five minutes. Like, I'm sorry, I need to use the restroom. Where's the nearest restroom and just go in there and close the stall and just breathe for a few minutes.

Unknown Speaker 1:23:56
So I'm like a crazy extrovert. So I don't need that. Like if you give me downtime. I'm like, What do I do with all this energy, but but I can't like sit in a room all day. So I'm assuming you you're maybe applying at awesome places like museums or libraries where maybe they could walk around with you and do that portion of the interview. Can you show me something you worked on or something I would work on or like that kinetic piece can be refreshing too because like just sitting in a stale conference room is really not life giving for me but

Unknown Speaker 1:24:42
then there's the basic advice, which is like get some rest the night before have breakfast, stay hydrated, like the kinds of things that help you have stamina, right so you know, personally, the things that give you stamina, you say caffeine which is kind of funny. I know that by my second cup Coffee, I can't keep going, because I'm going to get crazy. So for me, it's caffeine is actually not going to help I, it's better for me to close my eyes and breathe and settle down. And I'm already kind of wired. So, but other people I know, I've been that colleague at work, he drinks coffee all day long and I said 12 cups of coffee and I would my head would go kaboom. But he's just like, hey, how's it going? Douglas? Okay, so I

Unknown Speaker 1:25:20
had decaf before this. Otherwise, you wouldn't have understood a single word.

Matt Tarr 1:25:24
Sorry, I was gonna say I, you know, I marathon stuff like that. But like, one of the things I do is I always say, no, no, I'm fine. Anybody offers you tea or water or coffee, right? Like that might be a moment where you can like, walk with them to the kitchen and like, get yourself a tea. That's great. Just practice like saying yes, thank you to like, whatever they offer because like, my I know, for me, I'd be like, no, no, I'm fine. I would literally like sit there for three hours it would be no, no, I'm fine. You know, that just occurred to me.

Unknown Speaker 1:25:55
That that's actually terrific. For a tiny tip. It's super effective. Would you like some coffee? Yes, please. Let me come with you. Like that's terrific. Thank you.

Unknown Speaker 1:26:06
So high note to end on what do you think?

Unknown Speaker 1:26:08
Yeah, like that. Thanks for coming. I hope you enjoy the conference. Conversation. Thank you all for coming and enjoy the rest of the conference.